Thursday, September 06, 2007

Beatles On Film

Help! was the Beatles’ second feature film, which made its theatrical debut in 1965. Recently the film has been digitally restored, and it will be released on DVD next month via a 2-disc set. Features will include a remastered soundtrack, behind the scenes footage of the Beatles on set, and an in depth look at the restoration process.

Help! follows the Beatles as they become passive recipients of an outside plot that revolves around Ringo's possession of a sacrificial ring, which he cannot remove from his finger. As a result, he and his bandmates are chased from London to the Austrian Alps and the Bahamas by religious cult members, a mad scientist and the London police. Now, I have never seen this, but it sounds hilarious. It was shot in a satirical "James Bond" style, and at the time of the original release its distributor also held the rights to the Bond series. Here's a couple of good quotes from Ringo about the filming:
"A hell of a lot of pot was being smoked while we were making the film. It was great. That helped make it a lot of fun...In one of the scenes, Victor Spinetti and Roy Kinnear are playing curling: sliding along those big stones. One of the stones has a bomb in it and we find out that it's going to blow up, and have to run away.

Well, Paul and I ran about seven miles, we ran and ran, just so we could stop and have a joint before we came back. We could have run all the way to Switzerland. If you look at pictures of us you can see a lot of red-eyed shots. In the afternoon we very seldom got past the first line of the script. We had such hysterics that no one could do anything. Dick Lester would say, 'No, boys, could we do it again?' It was just that we had a lot of fun -- a lot of fun in those days."
The DVD is out on October 30, and you can watch the trailer here.

I had The Red Album sitting here next to me, so I figured I would upload one side for your listening pleasure. This record was passed on to me from one of my family members who found it in a box that someone had left behind in a closet or something. Lucky me, it's even the original release from 1973. The U.S. version has the "James Bond" style intro on "Help!", and all of the tracks chosen for the compilation were written by Lennon-McCartney.

"The Beatles themselves participated in selecting the songs for inclusion, as well as the colours and pictures. Even though the group had had success with cover versions of songs, most notably with "Twist and Shout", which made #2 on the Billboard charts, only songs composed by the Beatles themselves were chosen. Songs performed by the Beatles as solo artists were also considered for inclusion, but like the cover songs, limited space resulted in this idea having to be abandoned." -wiki

"Despite the somewhat cartoonish allusions to Indian culture and religion in the film Help!, the production of the film was arguably the spark that set off George Harrison's fascination with Indian music and religion. It was during the filming of this film, for instance, that he discovered the sitar, which he would later use in "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". -wiki

  • "Help!" the single 2:48
  • "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" from Help! 2:11
  • "We Can Work It Out" the single 2:16
  • "Day Tripper" the single 2:49
  • "Drive My Car" Rubber Soul 2:27
  • "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" Rubber Soul 2:05